posted by Andrew Davis on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 20:12 UTC

"Linspire, Page 2/2"
And I personally think that this is where Linspire truly shines. Their repository is by far one of the largest available. It has more entries than Xandros'. It has most of the entries that are also in the freshrpms and packman repositories. And best of all, its all guaranteed to work on a stock Linspire system. There's no need for apt-get and synaptic, no need for yum, no need for the RedHat Network. And there's really no need for any other repositories. All you do is click on what you want, it gets queued up, and before you know it, its installed with menu items and desktop shortcuts. Now, I'll admit, for a seasoned Linux user, just clicking once to install something felt a bit like my hand was being held. After all, before repositories and package managers, there was "configure, make, make install".

But then I compared the Linspire Click-N-Run Warehouse to Freshrpm's repository. With the Freshrpm's repository and synaptic, I can browse for an application, mark it for installation, then click Apply and the work is done for me. Basically, Linspire simplifies this to one click. Honestly, while I have a bit of an personal hang-up to using a "hand holding" distribution, the fact is that its simple and easy to do which gives me more time to do other things. And, I have the peace of mind of knowing that Linspire will help me troubleshoot *any* application from their CNR that doesn't work; though in all honesty, I've added more than 400 add-ons from CNR and not one has failed to work properly. And all this costs me $4.95 a month.

So its with this precedent that I think Linspire needs to expand. Linspire is *not* a bunch of community developers working for free in their spare time. They are a privately held company with Michael Robertson's cash reserves at their disposal. I think Linspire needs to expand their CNR warehouse to other distributions. Imagine if everything in the CNR warehouse was available in one place, via one tool, installed with a single click, for Fedora Core 3 or Suse 9.2. Imagine if you could install either of those two distributions, then pay $4.95 a month to Linspire for access to all things like mplayer, mplayer-plugin, xine with encrypted DVD support, etc. Sure you can have all those items now for FC3 and Suse 9.2. But consider being able to get them from a single source, with package dependencies already accounted for, and built buy a paid employee of a legitimate company instead of *some guy over Germany* that might've actually put a backdoor into his package. Of course, the question will arise over whether doing so would take away from Linspire's OS sales. I don't think so.

Linspire is given away for free on pre-installed systems. Its available for free via BitTorrent. Its only access to the CNR that costs money, and that's a meager $4.95 a month. A user that would normally install Fedora Core or Suse isn't very likely to switch to Linspire just because of CNR. However, a user running their favorite Linux distribution might be very likely to use Linspire's CNR for the simplicity of knowing the packages will work, the dependencies are accounted for, the simple install process, and the peace of mind of knowing who compiled the packages. And honestly, it won't take much marketing. All it would take is one or two Slashdot readers to blog or post a comment about how easily they got this or that installed via the CNR on their Linux distribution and it would sell itself through word of mouth. I'd encourage Linspire to give this a shot. Setup a portal for non-Linspire users to hand over the $4.95 a month. Then take the top 50 most downloaded applications from the CNR and compile them and sell them for Fedora Core 3 and Suse 9.2 and see if its not making money in less than 60 days.

About the author:
I'm a Sr. Level SysAdmin with 10+ years of experience, on a path to CTO (hint, hint to any readers). I've worked in many different sectors, consulted, and watched the dot-com rise and subsequent implosion. I have experience with everything from Novell to Windows to Solaris to Linux to HA Clustering to end-user desktop support and all the networks, routers, firewalls, etc that connect them. I am neither pro-Windows, nor pro-Linux. I believe each OS has its place and purpose, though where either can do the job, I'll go with Linux. Presently I work for a biotech in the Carlsbad, CA area.

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